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tv   White House Chronicles  WHUT  August 28, 2009 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT

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>> hello. i am latino, host "white house chronicle," which is coming right up, but first, a few thoughts of my own. many of us are apprehensive about government health-care because we did not know how it
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works in other countries. we just wonder how what will work here. part of that comes from the experiences we have when we deal directly, one-on-one, with the government, with the so-called faceless bureaucrats, when they have faces, but sometimes, they are rather sullen faces, not helpful faces, basis that say no. for example, fresh in my mind is the agency in washington where i went recently to get some more cages put in his passport. they just blow in their additional pages because there are too many stamps. that is not rocket science. that does not require any special thing except some pages in the pace pot. i went over, and they said i had to bring my itinerary because they wanted in a hurry. i cannot turn my passport away for six weeks, so i went away
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and got the itinerary, which is also rather silly because with a computer, you could make an itinerary rather easily. they let me in, and i was given a number. have had an line, and i got a number. they put me together with this number and told me to go to another window, which i did, where the man said he will have to come back tomorrow. here's a receipt for your passport, which is always a frightening piece of paper, and we will have it ready at 11:30 tomorrow morning. he was quite a humorous person. i was there at 11:30. a very long line of people, desperate people, some of whom had airplanes to catch that very day, and the passports or not granted. after an hour, i went over to one of the minute policeman in this place. i do not know why there are so
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many security people there. i said i wanted to speak to a supervisor. they said i could speak to the supervisor, who was at one of 19, but before you could go there, you had to get in the line to get in number. like yesterday, another number of. this is a terrible way to treat people. these are employees of the state department at the passport agency. who knows what they think they are doing being so difficult? no wonder many people are scared of the idea of getting their medicine from the government. take a number stand in line is what we think, even if that is not going to be the case. i have a wonderful panel of
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people to discuss the great events of the day here today, and we will be back right after these messages. >> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboration with whut, howard university television. now, the program hosts, nationally syndicated columnist llewellyn king, and co-host, linda gasparello. >> hello again and thank you for coming along. i promised you some great people, and here they are. we start with julie mason, of the "washington examiner," the white house correspondent of that paper. lovely to have you. brian kelly, the editor of "u.s. news and world report," one of the new multimedia publications
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both on the web and with a monthly magazine. lovely to have you back on the broadcast. for the first time, we have john -- julie mason -- john mulligan of the president's journal. -- the "providence journal." and linda kenyon, tell us about salem radio. >> we are and national radio network. we have well over 1000 affiliate's across the country, and my main duty is to cover the u.s. senate. i also do 10 to join me somewhat frolicsome our house correspondents from time to time, when i served. >> most of the white house is not very frolicsome these days. we are all a little quieted in
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washington because of the death -- especially journalists -- because of the death of senator kennedy. many of us knew him. i think john wrote a very beautiful piece about him. what does it mean that he is gone? >> we shan't see his like again, as they say in my hometown of boston. i think undoubtedly, it is the end of an era, which may exist for most of us in memory anyway, but we are not going to see a new crop of people who so skillfully blast away at the republican opposition one minute and then throw their arms around individual conservatives to invite them for a drink and make a deal the next minute. >> why is that? why has that ability -- why is that gone from the congress? why is it gone from the senate? >> i think the culture has changed. i'm not certain that it is
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altogether gone. there are six people, three of each party sitting down still in the senate finance committee trying to write some sort of compromise on the health-care overhaul, but i do think the culture has changed. we live in a time of permanent campaigns. very little in the way of seven day a week residents of washington, d.c., who can socialize together or play cards. >> you said something about having a drink with him. that has sort of gone out. you do not see the drinking. at 6:00, everybody had a bottle on the table and went to each other's offices. i remember that. if you were a favorite journalist, you could get in and have some of it your self. >> there is no more board of education. the jockey club in house of representatives. on thursday afternoons, senators and members of congress are on their airplanes flying back to the district to make the rounds of the bar mitzvahs and the
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funerals and when they cannot help but, the health-care extravaganza's. >> you did a little pilgrimage to places where kennedy was? >> it was a very strange atmosphere in the capitol yesterday. everyone had long expected that senator kennedy would be passing at some point. we knew he was gravely ill, and yet, somehow when we heard the news that he had passed, it was inexplicably unexpected, and it does not matter how long people have prepared themselves for it. it's still seem very strange walking into the building with all of the flags at half staff. already, you had sort of a feeling that washington is not america had changed, and walking inside, it was almost as if the air had been sucked from the building. it seemed that everything had
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just -- a chapter had just completely changed. >> do you think there will be any sense of how we should try to get back to what it used to be? do you think that this will have a long-term effect, or is it going to be very partisan? >> things have changed quite a bit. i think it was former senator trent lott who recently set things in washington are not what they used to be. they have become so lean, and the interaction, the partisanship between parties had just gotten so much at loggerheads. it is hard to see how there would be a way to break that. senator kennedy himself was very well known for managing to reach out across party lines and make deals i notice to see the big picture to get a piece of legislation passed. many people said that had he
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been well enough to work on the negotiations of health care reform, perhaps there would have been an agreement right now because he had that gift of being able to work with republicans and democrats to reach consensus. >> there is another whole, and that was the inability of the administration to get tom daschle's concern. they thought he and kennedy would be able to move this thing through, and of course, these two generals were missing. >> the interesting irony -- he is a complicated character, and did you look back, that which kennedy drove and in many ways really changed the tone of politics in washington, a personal attack -- it has become a cliche with politics of personal destruction, but much of that has its roots in canada going after board on what really was arguably a completely false basis, attacking him personally for positions that he did not
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hold and a number of other things. that changed the senate, and i think that changed capitol hill. i remember being at those hearings. it struck me as totally not consistent with kennedy, but he had that streak in him. for all the accomplishments you see, he was a very divisive figure. when he put his flag and said it you did not support this, you are against the poor, it is anti-american, a lot of people's careers were made in opposition to ted kennedy. >> there is another big gorilla in the room now, and that is the deficit. suddenly, we have new numbers we cannot comprehend, trillions and trillions of dollars in debt. is this going to change the political debate? >> it is terrible for obama. we have these polls now showing that people actually do care about deficits. they are very concerned about how it affects them. this is going to make it much harder for obama to get his agenda through because the
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deficits are terrible. >> i was speaking to a liberal journalist -- there are such things -- and he said he has a child and wonders about how far down the line this debt will go. >> right, let me let the journalists are worried about a, you have a problem. -- when the lefty journalists are worried about it. >> does this mean the agenda is in trouble? >> has to be. it is on target water. you are seeing so much push back on health care, we have not gone to the series parts of the energy bill yet. we have not gotten to immigration reform. the things that obama has as his signature, every single one of them is about money. >> the deficit is in big trouble, that is for sure, but on the other side of the ledger, obama has put himself over a barrel. he is very far out on a limb telling us about the things that
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he is going to do in health care and education and the energy front. if we go back to president clinton opposes a first term and try to think about what banks he got the deficit fighting, you have to look pretty far. the gratitude of voters, giving things. >> and now looks like a house in the improbable moment at the end of the clinton presidency when there was a surplus for a brief time. >> if you remember a little before in 1998 when it passed the balanced budget amendment, that was this bizarre comedy in washington. it was serious and ernest and good. christmas of 1998, they had passed the balanced budget. even gingrich and clinton were talking to each other. a few weeks later, monica
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melesky. so you have that brief moment where fiscal sanity did make sense and it did show that there was a lot of public support for the administration, and it all fell apart. but it would be nice to see that money does matter occasionally. >> i wonder if it would have lasted. >> i believe it would. i think that was a remarkable moment. the fiscal house was in order. lots of things were possible. i remember the clinton books talking about medicare reform and social security reform in the spring. that was their big agenda. and they thought that we have the resources to do it, and republicans alike, "may be so." >> i just found it to be really interesting, and we are now at the polar opposite. >> be balanced budget act of 1998 was more than anything in public health bill. they did not fix it up completely, but they began some of the cutbacks and doctors and hospital care. this was part of president clinton's program to the
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incremental reform. remember who was so big on that. >> this is to remind our listeners of sirius xm radio that they are listening to "white house chronicle" with julie mason, myself llewellyn king of this program, brian kelly, of u.s. news and world report, john mulligan of the providence journal, and linda kenyon of salem radio network. this program can be heard every saturday at 9:30 a.m. eastern time sirius-xm radio, channels 110 and 130. the cia -- here is another bombshell, depending on how you feel. the interrogation procedures seemed to some of us to be brutal, ".
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how'd you read that? >> when i went through the fine print and release of dick cheney, i scratch my head and wonder where the news was. we have heard quite a bit about these selfsame techniques, whether they are torture or not, so i start to look at it in a political. who is this going to help? i just cannot imagine that the president wants to be worrying about torture eating up his new cycle while he is striving to pass a health-care plan. >> do you feel about this? >> i was actually surprised that the torture memos and the cia involvement in interrogations' did not really dominate the news cycle, perhaps because a lot of it was something we have already heard about or had not
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previously semis. i think that had we not have health care dominating the headlines with the somewhat rockets town hall meetings that have been going on, we would have perhaps seen an awful lot more on the cia and the torture memos. >> also, with congress on the time, that brings the temperature way down on stuff like that. >> this is one of the things that is not a screaming headline, but it will be with us for a long time. this is an inside washington viewed that as " a bubble for months. >> if you are an american citizen taking abroad for alleged spying or in a hostile action and military action, you cannot expect very many protections because your captors will feel that they are entitled to do just about anything. >> there were blowing smoke in
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people's faces earlier. one of the takeaways from that report is that it seemed to be -- we already know most of it or all of it, and the outcome of it is very -- a few select cases of maybe some things have crossed the line. why did eric holder go back to an issue that has already been investigated, already been passed out by justice, both committees on the hill? obama said he would rather look forward and look back, so he does not want to have anything to do with it. >> how do you feel eric holder is doing? he seems quite controversial as attorney general quite early in his term. >> i think his decision to appoint an investigator to look into the cia and the torture memos and whatever may come out of them has perhaps been an issue that did not really pleased the president. he wanted to distance himself from it.
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>> but there is an element of hanging out about this. >> he has gone broke a little bit. >> there is a concern that this does set a precedent, that there will be presidential administrations investigating previous administrations, and where does it end, and before you know, everybody is not so much worried about the new jobs as they are about being investigated once they are no longer in their jobs. >> by unemployment, despite the bad business decisions, despite the economy bumping around at the bottom of the tank, we have a new national entertainment town hall meeting. suddenly, television crews are stretched getting from town hall meeting to town hall meeting because that is where you are going to see the fireworks. why is this, and what is going on? >> even in a tranquil rhode island where it is hard to find a republican, there have been a
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minority of voices saying to much too fast, my head is spinning. there is not a lot of screaming and shouting, but i think our representatives are a bit sobered about the seriousness. >> what about the pernicious half truths, as somebody has described them? >> right, and they have really taken hold. i think it is a crisis of leadership. why hasn't the administration been more affected in a cabin on these rumors? i see it all over the place -- this is not true or fact checking. >> it is also in case the administration is dependent and in ottawa. there is no administration bill. >> there are five separate bills. nobody has actually seen it finished product yet, so everybody is going to the town hall meetings, and they are discussing a bill.
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so nothing has really been codified. >> the half truths are out there or the non-truths. have you been to one of these meetings? has anybody been to one? >> we are not really in touch with those regular people. i watched them on tv, though. [laughter] it is great show. usually in august, we are complaining about the national news shortage, and we are usually in a crisis looks deeper something to cover. it has been great for that. >> my theory is that republicans and conservatives, who are not people who grew up on the barricades in picket lines, shout it out for freedom -- they were doing it rather more quietly. suddenly, in middle-aged, they are finding all the excitement
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of being at the barricades and being yelled, and it is rejuvenating for them. >> there is fun to be had on the opposition side. there's a lot of things on the table now, and the president may have lost control, but maybe not because most things can still get pulled together in the legislative process. he now has multiple options. he may say that we're going to take from this bill, from this bill when it finally get to making sausage, whether he has that much control or whether this thing has spun out of control because it had so much time to let the opposition still, that is what we are going to see in the next few weeks. >> the process of making laws is very much like the process of making sausage. it is very ugly, and senator christopher dodd has been on the house committee well senator kennedy was very ill. he has said that sometimes you will come to an agreement in the conference committees, and sometimes you did not reach an agreement until you are on the floor. >> i get the feeling that
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congress on this one is more like a jury, sitting there hearing the evidence and then making up their minds. based on what they feel these powerfully held positions are, but what they represented, we do not know. >> it is not congress in a sense, but it is the six or seven key legislators who actually get the work done, which going back to kennedy, that is why he was so good. kennedy's best work was done sitting in a room like this with his colleagues saying we're not going to take the provision. we are going to give you this, and that is really where the business gets conducted. the boy that he has left is who steps in and does that kind of work? it is hard work. >> is one of the president's problems that he is not your on the hill? >> that is true, and i do not think he understands the bill very well. -- he is not feared on the hill. there is a comparison between him and lbj, but he does not
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have that skill set at all. he does not have that influence. he does not seem to understand how the players work together or how to make things happen. >> he does not seem to have anything they want, so he cannot trade. they have and what he wants. this is not a good bargaining position. >> they're just watching poll numbers go down and down in the chaos ensued and the lack of clear articulate leadership. we have midterms coming up fast upon us. it changes the dynamic. >> at the point where all forms a part in the next few weeks and months, which i'm always fascinated by, when do you think that is? when does he really truly lose control? >> when they leave for christmas. >> or when something happens that puts him back in charge. do you think there's a problem that he is light but not cured -- peered f --eared? >> i think there's truth in both
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of those assertions, but i think it is a little too early to write off the barack obama administration. i think in part because now he has got to get health care, and so does the democratic party. there is going to be a health care bill. it may not be as grandiose as some have wished, but they will settle for bits and pieces, i think, and it might even be piecemeal. you might see parts of the bill that senator kennedy posy friend chris dodd shepherded through the committee -- senator kennedy's friend chris dodd shepherded through the committee. it limits the republicans, but then, possibly, they will wait until later on to do some of the difficult moneychanger tricks and medicare trimming tricks in the finance committee, which is where this bill is at least a nominal team of republicans and democrats working together.
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it is time for our high points and low points. mine is a high point. just this past couple of days since kennedy's passing, we have seen these medical retrospectives of old photographs from the earlier era of democratic politics, and it has been really cynicism neutralizing to see these beautiful images of the past, especially these black and white ones. budweiser is now branding deal with college logos. as it we needed another reason college students to be drinking at football games. that is a low point? -- >> that is a low point? do you have a college-age child >> by chance > i do, and we're hoping it does not make it to the point. >> i started college when i was 16, and it did not have to be branded. we found it. >> not just a college children but all the children are going back to school, and i call that a high point. right around the same time,
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members of congress will leave the town halls and return to the capitol dome, and that is all to the good. >> i would say it is sort of it what side -- a combination of a high and low point, being that it is the end of an era with the passing of the kennedy and the start of a new era. both sides of the same issue. >> but it really is the end of "those boys", joseph sons. i have no great love of the kennedy dynasty, but i'm sad to see it end in a way because it has always been there, and one kennedy has always been in the senate in my time in america, which goes back a very long way now. that is our program for today. we hope you have an enjoyable summer, what is left of it, and you can see us on the web at
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this program is now seen a nearly 400 stations. we hope you see on one of them, and we will be back at the same time next week. until then, cheers. captioned by the national captioning institute >> "white house chronicle" is produced in collaboration with whut, howard university television. from washington, d.c., this has been "white house chronicle" -- a weekly analysis of the news with insight and a sense of humor, featuring llewellyn king, linda gasparello, and guests.
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